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Anyone Can Be a Refugee

When I was an undergraduate student I worked as a Support Assistant with the Immigration and Refugee Board of the Government of Canada. I was responsible for reviewing the refugees’ PIFs – Personal Information Files. I loved to file through refugee stories from the US because the people seemed like me. The idea that someone living in a so called ‘developed’ country could be a refugee fascinated me.

My interest peaked and I began seeking stories of refugees from all over the world including France, Australia and Denmark. I realized that anyone could be a refugee.

In 1914, the term refugee was officially used to represent “one who seeks asylum.” This definition represents anyone regardless of colour, religion or socio-economic status which means anyone can become a refugee if they are forced to flee their home and seek asylum elsewhere. I imagined a friend, a loved one, or my colleagues having to seek refuge.

Abdalla Al Omari, a Syrian refugee, imagined world leaders as refugees. In his series, “The Vulnerability Series,” Al Omari shows world leaders as refugees in a collection of paintings. By showing world leaders’ vulnerabilities, Al Omari hopes to show the world that refugees are real people. For more of Abdalla’s work, visit his Instagram or Twitter and search The Vulnerability Series. His work is also on display at an art gallery in Dubai.

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